Category: synth punk

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pleasure Motel Releases a Sensual Visual for Thumping and Propulsive New Single

Dave Tudi is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has been the creative mastermind behind a number of musical projects I’ve written about throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history. His latest project, Pleasure Motel is a minimalist synth pop project with a sleazy and menacing, industrial-leaning sound that recalls Ministry, early Nine Inch Nails and Suicide. 

Tudi’s latest Pleasure Motel single “Love Songs” continues a run of minimalist and propulsive tracks centered around arpeggiated synths, relentlessly thumping beats, an infectious hook and mantra-like lyrics delivered with an icy and ironic detachment. Unlike his previous released Pleasure Motel work, “Love Songs” may arguably be among the sleaziest and most debauched songs of his growing catalog. And if doesn’t stir lust deep in your loins and in the reptile brain, there’s something wrong with you. 

The recently released video is split between sensual, black and white stock footage of young couples making out and hooking up, and sleazy red-filtered footage of a sunglasses wearing Tudi singing the song’s lyrics. The visual manages to continue the project’s DIY ethos  — cheap, fast, sleazy.  

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Prettiest Eyes Pay Homage to John Carpenter in Visual for “Mr. President”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles-based synth punk act Prettiest Eyes, and as you may recall the act which is comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based founding members Pachy Garcia (drums, vocals), and Marcos Rodriguez (bass, vocals) along with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco Casanova (keys, synths vocals) can trace their origins back to San Juan, where the band’s founding members played in a number of local bands before relocating to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. Casanova independently relocated to Los Angeles and joined the band to complete its lineup. And with the release of a couple of EPs and their first two albums,  2015’s Looks and last year’s Pools, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays firmly established a reputation for crafting sleazy and primal synth punk that throbs with a muscular insistence.  

The band’s third full-length album, the aptly titled Vol. 3 was released earlier this year through Castle Face Records, and album single “Nekrodisco” was a off-center, post apocalyptic ripper, seemingly inspired by Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!-era DEVO. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Mr. President” is a minimalist track centered around howled mantra-like lyrics, industrial clang and clatter and a relentless motorik groove that seethes with uncertainty and menace. 

Directed and edited by Andrew Frescas, the recently released video further emphasizes the song’s murkiness and menace — and interestingly enough, finds the video’s director and the band collaborating to pay homage to John Carpenter’s They Live!

New Video: Los Angeles Synth Punks Prettiest Eyes Release Sleazy VHS-Styled Visual for “Nekrodisco”

Comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Pachy Garcia (drums, vocals), San Juan Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles-based Marcos Rodriguez (bass, vocals) and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco Casanova (keys, synths vocals), the Los Angeles-based synth punk act Prettiest Eyes can trace their origins back to San Juan, where Garcia and Rodriguez played in a number of local bands before relocating to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. Rodriguez relocated independently and joined the band — and within their first couple of years together, the act released a couple of EPs and a couple of albums, including 2015’s Looks and last year’s Pools. Both albums established the band’s growing reputation for crafting sleazy, primal, synth-based punk that throbs with a nasty, muscular insistence. 

The band’s third full-length album, the aptly titled Vol. 3 is slated for a June 24, 2019 release through Castle Face Records, and the album’s latest single “Nekrodisco” is a sleazy, cretinous stomp featuring  a muscular and insistent motorik-like, chugging groove, buzzing synths, Garcia’s vocal delivery, which alternates between shouted commands, whispers and howls paired with jagged hooks. And while the new track will further cement the Los Angeles-based synth punk act’s growing reputation for off-center, post-apocalyptic rippers, the track also manages to sound as though it were inspired by Q: Are We Men? A: We Are DEVO-era DEVO. Directed by Shane McKenzie, the recently released video is grainy, distorted VHS scuzz and snow, complete with the members of the band vamping and strutting throughout. 

Currently comprised of founding member Natalie Hoffman (vocals, guitar, synth) with Charlotte Watson (drums) and Madison Farmer (bass), the Memphis, TN-based punk rock  act Nots quickly rose to national prominence with the release of their full-length debut, 2014’s We Are Nots, an effort that sonically drew from 60s garage rock, 77-era punk, thrash punk, No Wave and New Wave. 2017’s sophomore effort Cosmetic found the act expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere, while lyrically commenting on sociopolitical concerns — in particular, the album focused on the rough and complicated edges of desire, deceit and distortions. and how they impact appearances and your sense of reality.

Last year, the band went through a significant lineup change with longtime keyboardist Alexandra Hoffman leaving the band. Understandably, the threat of the band losing Eastburn’s hammering synth progressions resulted in some growing pains for the band. But when the newly constituted trio arrived at Bunker Audio to recored material with their longtime friend, collaborator and engineer, Andrew McCalla, each member fully embracing the band’s new identity and approach. Rather than completely abandon the noisy synth attack aspect of their sound, Hoffman decided to take up synths. Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through their longtime label home Goner Records, the band’s forthcoming album, the aptly titled 3 should be seen and understood as something altogether different from its predecessors.”Once we really leaned into the space that being a three-piece afforded us, our writing started to make better sense and connect,” the band’s Natalie Hoffmann explains in press notes. “It made for a more interesting record than if we stayed comfortable and safe in the way we were writing.”

Reportedly through the entire album, the band explores themes of lost control, societal division and strife, the loss of reality in performance and how exhausting it can be to navigate the blurry lines between playing an actor/performer and playing human. And while continuing in a similar heady thematic space as its predecessor, the band’s forthcoming third album was recorded live — but with an intense, improvisational energy to the proceedings. 3’s first single, “Half-Painted House” is centered by a propulsive bass line, wild squealing feedback and synths, shouted lyrics, shouted lyrics and a mosh pit friendly hook — and while bearing a resemblance to Cosmetic, the hypnotic track may arguably be one of the darker songs they’ve released to date, as the song is “about being stuck in a haze of repetitive cycles while change proves to be both stubborn and elusive. The veneer of what it looks like to be ‘normally functioning’ during these tumultuous times is peeling to reveal a mind struggling to keep from turning against itself,” Hoffman explains in press notes.

Nots have confirmed a handful of SXSW sets and a couple of live shows. There will be more coming in the near future; but in the meantime, check out the live dates below.

Live Dates: 
 
3/14: Austin, TX – Levitation – Hotel Vegas – 5:45PM
3/15: Austin, TX – She Shreds – Saraha Lounge – 1:20PM
3/15: Austin, TX – Goner Records – Beerland – 1:00AM

3/29: Memphis, TN – Bar DKDC

5/25 – Memphis, TN – B-Side Bar (Album Release Show)
More To Come…

New Audio: Acclaimed Act Thrice Releases An Anthemic Prog Rock-like Single

Comprised of founding members Dustin Kensrue (vocals, guitar) and Teppei Teranishi (guitar) with siblings Eddie Breckenridge (bass) and Riley Breckenridge (drums), the Irvine, CA-based rock band Thrice can trace their origins to its founding members meeting in high school and playing in a local band Chapter 11. When it came to starting their own project, Kensrue and Teranishi recruited Teranishi’s skate park buddy Eddie Breckenridge to play bass, and Breckenridge then brought his brother Riley to play drums, completing the band’s lineup. As the story goes, before their first show they realized that they needed name, and hard-pressed, they decided on going with Thrice, an inside joke between the bandmembers out of desperation. Although they had intended the name to be a temporary one, they began to gain fans and people started to associate them with it, so they were forced to stay with it.

In 1999, the band released the First Impressions EP, which was recorded during a twos-day session at A-Room Studios with Brian Tochilin. Only 1,000 copies were made and the individual bandmembers sold them out of their cars. Working with Death by Stereo’s Paul Miner, the Irvine, CA-based quartet recorded 12 tracks, which eventually became their 2000 full-length debut Identity Crisis, which was released through Greenflag Records. A portion of the album’s proceeds were donated to Crittenton Services for Children and Family, and with growing local buzz, the quartet caught the interest of Hopeless/Sub City’s Louis Posen, who eventually signed the band, and reissued Identity Crisis. To support the album the band toured with the likes of Samiam, Midtown and Hot Rod Circuit.

February 2002 saw the release of the band’s Brian McTernan-produced Hopeless/Sub City debut, The Illusion of Safety. Much like its predecessor, the band donated a portion of the album’s proceeds to a non-profit youth shelter in South Central Los Angeles, A Place Called Home, with the label matching all donations. The album received generally positive reviews and after tours opening for Further Seems Forever and Face to Face, followed by their first headlining tour, Thrice won the attention of several major labels, including Island Records, who signed the band, after agreeing to match the band’s charitable donations in the same fashion as Hopeless/Sub City. After signing with Island Records, the band toured with Hot Water Music and Coheed and Cambria before returning to the studio.

Interestingly with the release of 2002’s Illusion of Safety and 2003’s The Artist in the Ambulance, the band developed a reputation for a fast and punishing math rock-like sound centered around heavily distorted power chords, rapid time signature changes; however, with 2005’s Vheissu, the members of Thrice began incorporating synths, electronic beats and a much more experimental approach to their songwriting that continued through 2007 and 2008 with the release of The Alchemy Index, two albums that actually consisted of a 4-part, 24 song cycle, with each of the four 6-song EPs featuring significantly different styles based on the classical elements of fire, water, air and earth both lyrically and musically. 2009’s Beggars and 2011’s Major/Minor found the band continuing to refine their experimentation and exploration of their sound; but after the release of Major/Minor, Thrice announced a final tour and a hiatus.

In 2015, Kensrue and Teranishi decided to reform the band, and by the following year, they released their first album in four years, 2016’s To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere.  Slated for a September 14, 2018 release through Epitaph Records, the band’s tenth full-length album Palms is their second post-reunion album, and the album which was co-produced by the band and Eric Palmquist reportedly finds the band’s sound encompassing everything from post-hardcore to piano-driven ballads, making it arguably the most sonically expansive album of their careers to date. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the prog rock-like mid-tempo “Only Us” is centered around pulsating synths, enormous power chord-led guitar riffs, an arena rock friendly hook and Kensrue’s plaintive and earnest vocals. As the band’s Dusin Kensrue explains in press notes. “‘Only Us’ came from thinking about how easily we’re so divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’ when really we have an inherent ability to care for those in our group, and the parameters for who falls into that group are extremely flexible. It’s about how the things that we think separate us are actually inconsequential, and if we could broaden the idea of ‘us’ to include all people, it would help us build a more loving and civil society. “

Over the course of last year, I wrote about the  Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk act Sextile and since its formation back in 2015, the band has earned a devout following thanks to a reputation for an explosive live show and non-stop touring as either a headliner or opener with the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Moon, Ought, ADULT., The Chameleons, Modern English and others — and they’ve played sets at Bersekertown, Cloak & Dagger and Levitation Festivals.
Now, since I’ve last written about them, the act has gone through a massive lineup change that finds the act as a duo featuring Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto. And as a result of the lineup changes, the project has shifted towards a decidedly minimalist approach with the duo of Kehn and Scaduto favoring the use of synths over guitars — although with their forthcoming self-recorded, forthcoming EP3 the duo employ the use of a KORG MS-10, a sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster, a LinnDrum and various other percussion-based instruments. The duo also cite futurist Luigi Russolo’s The Art of Noises as an influence on their approach, as their sound and songwriting is meant to evoke and mirror the chaos and brutality of the industrial era; in fact, the EP’s latest single “Spun” is centered around explosive squealing bursts of guitar, scorching synths, thumping beats, industrial clang and clatter and a motorik-ike groove, and it some way the song finds the band meshing the aesthetics of Gang of Four and classic DFA Records (i.e., LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture) — although the song subtly hits at Bay City Rollers‘ “Saturday Night,” thanks to its punchily delivered vocals.  Sonically, the song manages to evoke a civilization gone absolutely mad, inching itself closer to apocalypse — but dancing on its way to the end.

 

The duo of Kehn and Scaduto will be on a lengthy tour to support their new EP. Check out the tour dates below. .

Tour Dates
09.13 Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
09.14 Newcastle, UK @ Underground
09.15 Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
09.16 Birmingham, UK @ The Cuban Embassy
09.18 London, UK @ Electrowerkz
09.19 Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin
09.20 Portsmouth, UK @ The Edge Of The Wedge
09.21 Le Havre, FR @ Mc Daids
09.22 Angers, FR @ Levitation Festival
09.23 Lyon, FR @ Le Farmer
09.24 Limoges, FR @ El doggo
09.25 Landgraaf, NL @ Oefenbunker
09.26 Antwerp, BE @ TRIX
09.27 Paris, FR @ La Station
09.28 Hamburg, DE @ Karatekeller
09.29 Berlin, DE @ Urban Spree
10.02 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall ~
10.03 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall ~
10.12 – 14 Moreno Valley, CA @ Desert Daze

 

 

New Video: Two Renowned Barcelona-based Electronic Music Scene Vets Release Ominous Visuals for Murky and Industrial Debut Single “Tell Them”

Semiotics Department of Heteronyms (SDH) is the new recording project of two key figures in Barcelona‘s synth wave/industrial scene — Andrea P. Latorre and Sergi Algiz, who are co-founders of renowned Spanish label  C¯njunt¯ Vac̯, as well as members of post-punk act Wind Atlas; however, SDH finds Latorre and Algiz heading towards a decidedly pop-leaning direction sonically while thematically, the duo’s latest project is centered on fiction, make believe and feigned personalities — namely: how fiction is embodied, what fiction really is, and so on.

Interestingly, the Spanish duo’s latest single “Tell Them,” off their recently released digital-release only EP Tell Them while superficially being synth pop finds the duo nodding at cold wave, post-punk, and early house and techno as they pair shimmering yet chilly arpeggiated synths, propulsive, industrial-like drum programming, razor sharp and rousing hooks with Latorre’s sultry and soulful vocals in what may arguably be the most sensual and dance floor friendly single they’ve released to date. Unsurprisingly, with the release of their two previously released singles, the members of SDH have built up quite a bit of buzz as they’ve already opened for artists like Marie Davidson and Merchandise and have played at the Swedish darkwave festival Kalabalik PÂ Tyrolen.

Fittingly shot on grainy VHS tape, the recently released video for “Tell Them” features the duo broodingly walking down dim, late night European streets, emphasizing the song’s murky and ominous air. 

Comprised of Mark Ryan, a member of bands like The Marked Men, High Tension Wires and Radioactivity, along with Baptist Generals‘ Peter Salisbury (synths) and The Marked Men’s Mike Throneberry (drums), the Fort Worth, TX-based synth punk act Mind Spiders is a decided sonic left turn from each of the individual members’ various projects  — with their forthcoming album Furies, reportedly being the project’s most electronic leaning album to date. And as you’ll hear from the album’s first single, album title track “Furies” is an urgent, post apocalyptic industrial rock track, complete with layers of buzzing synths, propulsive drum programming, howled vocals and a mosh pit worthy hook reminiscent of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails; but underneath the urgency of the song is a healthy sense of panic and dread — the sort of panic and dread of our impending doom, as a cabal of dangerous and greedy idiots fuck up everything we’ve ever loved or valued.

Look for the album on January 26, 2018 through Dirtnap Records.

New Video: Prettiest Eyes Return with a Scorching and Trippy Visuals for New Single “Don’t Call”

Comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Pachy (drums, vocals) and Marcos (bass) and the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco, the members of synth punk/psych punk/psych rock trio Prettiest Eyes can trace their origins back to San Juan, where Pachy and Marcos played in a number of local bands before they all eventually relocated to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. And within their first two years together, the trio realized two EPs  and their 2015 debut Looks, all of which featured sleazy, sludgy, psychedelic-tinged, garage punk rooted around throbbing bass chords, quick-paced drumming, buzzing keys and lyrics shouted and howled in Spanish and English — and while fitting comfortably among contemporary retro-styled, psych and garage rock bands like  Raccoon Fighter, The Yetis, The Black Angels and others, the band manages to set themselves apart, as a result of their material, which frequently possesses a sweaty, primal and downright dangerous urgency, with razor sharp hooks and a retro-futuristic vibe. 

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them but as it turns out, the band recently released their sophomore effort Pools and from the album’s latest single “Don’t Call,” the San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based trio will further cement their reputation for crafting sleazy, noisy, primal punk rock that throbs with a muscular insistence. It’s nasty and it’s weird as fuck but absolutely necessary and mosh pit worthy while mischievously nodding at John Dwyer’s impressively prolific work. 

Directed, shot and edited by Laura Sofia-Perez,  the recently released video for “Don’t Call” is equally as intense as the phone, further emphasizing it’s gritty psychedelia — in some way it feels like a wild and fucked up acid trip. 

Live Footage: Brooklyn-based JOVM Mainstays NØMADS Release Buzzing Synth-based Mediation on the Fear of Loneliness

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay act NØMADS. And if you’ve been frequenting this site you’d recall that the duo, primarily comprised of Nathan Lithow  (vocals, synths, bass) and Garth Macaleavey (drums) spent the better part of last year writing writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album PHØBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion. Naturally, the material captures and evokes the innermost thoughts and anxieties of someone in the grips of a deeply crippling fear; but at its core, is a cautionary message for our heightened and uncertain times — that whenever we succumb to the irrationality of our fears, chaos and self-destruction will be the result.  

Throughout the course of the year, the duo have released new singles off PHØBIAC every month but recently the duo announced that they’d be splitting the album into two separate EPs — the organic instrumentation-driven PHØBIAC Part 1 and the synth-driven PHØBIAC Part 2. Last month’s single “Phasmophøbia” featured drummer Brian Wolf, who’s best known for his work with David Byrne, St. Vincent and the legendary Dap Kings, and focuses on the fear of the paranormal and of ghosts — both literal and figurative. Recorded live in Pittsburgh in the murky shadows of an abandoned Catholic school’s furnace room in one full take with no edits, “Phasmophøbia”  consists of a fast and loose, improvised jam-like arrangement featuring swirling and twisting synth chords paired with boom-bap hip-hop-inspired drumming which evoke a sweaty, nauseating paranoia. That shouldn’t be surprising as the song focuses on an ex-lover, who perpetually haunts the street of the paranoid narrator’s daily world; and in fact, the song’s narrator recognizes that his past is sickeningly inescapable.

PHØBIAC Part 2’s latest single “Autophøbia” focuses on what may arguably be the most prevalent and shared fear of all clinical phobias — the fear of being alone or isolated, as though you may be the last person on earth or being so misunderstood that you can’t find any common ground with anyone. Certainly, the fear of being alone influences our behavioral patterns, our relationships and our concept of what constitutes a happy, organized, successful life. Continuing the group’s ongoing collaboration with Brian Wolf, the track features twisting and turning synths paired with rolling and propulsive drumming while lyrically, the song’s young narrator gazes into the future through a picture of himself a lonely old man, who knows that death is imminent and unavoidable and while tinged with an underlying sense of regret, there the creeping realization that his worst nightmare will come true — that he’ll die alone, forgotten and obsolete. 

Much like the previous single, “Autophøbia” was recorded live and in one full-take with no edits within the murky shadows of an abandoned Pittsburgh area Catholic school furnace.